New York Film Critics Circle Names The Artist Best Picture

In an unusual move, The New York Film Critics Circle are the first to give out their awards this season. Usually it is the National Board of Review that officially kicks off the awards, but the NYFCC opted to move theirs earlier to start things off. They voted earlier this morning with the following results:

Best Picture
The Artist

Best Director
Michel Hazanavicius – The Artist

Best Screenplay
Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin – Moneyball

Best Actress
Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady

Best Actor
Brad Pitt – Moneyball, The Tree of Life

Best Supporting Actress
Jessica Chastain – The Tree of Life, The Help, Take Shelter

Best Supporting Actor
Albert Brooks – Drive

Best Cinematographer
Emmanuel Lubezki – The Tree of Life

Best Non-Fiction Film (Documentary)
Cave of Forgotten Dreams

Best Foreign Film
A Separation

Best First Film
J.C. Chandor – Margin Call

Special Award
Raoul Ruiz

There really aren’t too many surprises in this list of winners. Streep has been getting great early buzz about her performance in The Iron Lady, which will more than likely lead to her 17th Oscar nomination. It’s been 28 years since she won. Perhaps she’ll finally get her third win.

It will be interesting to see if Pitt can stick around for an Oscar nod for Moneyball with heavy hitters like George Clooney (The Descendants), Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), and Jean Dujardin (The Artist) all getting some great buzz for their performances. It was a wonderful performance in a great film, so hopefully he’ll be able to pull it off.

The biggest surprise here is probably Albert Brooks winning Best Supporting Actor for Drive. His role is small, but effective, in an excellent and bizarre film that has gotten a lot of people talking about awards possibilities.

The Artist draws first blood with what is sure to be the first of several Best Picture wins. The film has been a critical darling (currently 97% on Rotten Tomatoes) ever since its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival back in May where it was nominated for the prestigious Palme d’Or (the equivalent of Best Picture) and took home Best Actor for Jean Dujardin.

One of our critics, James Powell, saw the film at the festival and absolutely loved it, giving it a perfect rating in his review. Sadly, it’s only playing in a small handful of theaters in New York and Los Angeles at the moment, but hopefully that will change as the awards start piling up, allowing the rest of the country to see it. One thing’s for sure, it’s certainly positioned as one of the top Oscar contenders for next year.

The National Board of Review is set to reveal their awards on December 1st, and from there, multiple critics’ groups will follow as we go into the very heart of awards season. In the coming weeks, we’ll see if there’s a critical consensus, but then again, that could end up meaning absolutely nothing like last year’s extraordinary circumstance. The critics overwhelmingly favored The Social Network, while the guilds, and ultimately the Academy, went the way of The King’s Speech. We’ll just have to wait and see.

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